Top BJP brass may have maintained silence over whether to project a chief ministerial face for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls or not, but regional leaders and their supporters have taken to posters to send out a message about their preferences.
Among state leaders, MP Varun Gandhi’s face is on most of the posters and hoardings put up along the roads leading to the meeting venue. Posters of Union Minister Smriti Irani, who is seen as one of the party’s options for the post, are present at relatively fewer places.
Photographs of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP’s most prominent state leader in UP, can also be seen across the city. At certain locations, his photograph can be seen alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah’s pictures.
Union Minister Uma Bharti, an OBC leader who was seen as the party’s chief ministerial candidate in 2012 assembly polls, is hardly visible among these posters and banners.
Wary that the party may not take kindly to any bid by some leaders to project themselves as the chief ministerial face when it is still deliberating the matter, those who have put up posters and banners have refrained from making any direct call to declare their favourites as the pick.
Reacting to the issue, BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh told reporters in Allahabad that “there are well-wishers of Mr Varun Gandhi. But certainly, it’s not through the party effort that this (posters) has come up.”
“All I can say is certainly this is not any kind of projection that the party is making in the national executive and hoardings and posters are not parameters of popularity,” Singh said. BJP’s national executive meet is scheduled to take place in Allahabad on Sunday
The party is yet declare a chief ministerial face as it did in Assam. This can be due to factors like caste equation and lack of a widely accepted chief ministerial candidate.
Though many in the party feel Rajnath Singh outscores other challengers on most counts but he has earlier expressed reluctance to join state politics and the party top brass is also in two minds on whether he is the best bet or not. Yet, it is almost certain that he will play an important role, including the possibility of heading the party’s campaign.